markets
Asian markets upbeat after Chinese manufacturing shows improvement (Reuters).

Asian markets mostly gained in the morning trade after data showed that Chinese manufacturing picked-up further in November, adding to hopes of growth in the world's second largest economy.

Japan's Nikkei was up 0.66 percent or 62.25 points to 9508.26. Construction firms gained the most. Shimizu Corp traded 5.65 percent higher, while Chiyoda Corp was up 4.55 percent.             

South Korea's KOSPI traded 0.33 percent or 6.43 points higher to 1939.33. Paper-related products maker Seha Corp, up 14.96 percent and Handok Pharmaceuticals, which gained 14.91 percent were the major gainers.             

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.22 percent or 47.55 points to 22077.94. Property developer Wharf Holdings and healthcare products maker Hengan International Group Company were the notable gainers, up 2.93 and 1.79 percent respectively.

China's Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.28 percent or 5.60 points to 1974.51. Chemical firm Wuhan Xianglong Power Industry fell the most, down 4.18 percent, followed by real estate developer Shanghai Xingye Housing Company, which slipped 5.05 percent.

The Wall Street failed to offer encouraging cues to Asian bourses, as stock performance remained lacklustre in the previous session.  US markets had closed with little change last week as the political deadlock over the 'fiscal cliff' continued to weigh on investor sentiments.

But regional indicators added cheer. Data released by China's statistics bureau over the weekend showed that the country's manufacturing gained in November. The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose 50.6 in the month from 50.2 in the previous.  Although the figures fell short of expectations, it stood in the expansionary territory, adding to optimism on the Chinese economy.

The final reading of HSBC PMI released early in the day too boosted the markets. The index gained to 50.5 in November from 49.5 in the previous month, moving out of the contractionary territory for the first time in 13 months. But these better figures failed to boost trading in Shanghai.

Manufacturing and trade figures from South Korea too showed improvement. The country's PMI released by HSBC gained to 48.2 in November from 47.4 in the previous month.  Data released over the weekend had shown that exports from Asia's fourth largest economy picked up to 3.9 percent year-on-year in November.

But inflation data dampened sentiments, with consumer prices index dropping to 1.6 percent year-on-year from 2.1 in October.